IRQ handling

The driver API to the IRQ subsystem exposes the new interrupt type flag IRQF_OOB, denoting an out-of-band handler with the following routines:

  • setup_irq() for early registration of special interrupts
  • request_irq() for device interrupts
  • __request_percpu_irq() for per-CPU interrupts

An IRQ action handler bearing this flag will run from out-of-band context over the head stage, regardless of the current interrupt state of the root stage. If no head stage is present, the flag will be ignored, with the interrupt handler running in-band over the root stage as usual.

Conversely, out-of-band handlers can be dismissed using the regular API, such as:

  • free_irq() for device interrupts
  • free_percpu_irq() for per-CPU interrupts

Out-of-band IRQ handling has the following constraints:

  • If the IRQ is shared, with multiple action handlers registered for the same event, all other handlers on the same interrupt channel must bear the IRQF_OOB flag too, or the request will fail.

If meeting real-time requirements is your goal, sharing an IRQ line among multiple devices can only be a bad idea. You may want to do that in desparate hardware situations only.

  • Obviously, out-of-band handlers cannot be threaded (IRQF_NO_THREAD is implicit, IRQF_ONESHOT is ignored).

Installing an out-of-band handler for a device interrupt

#include <linux/interrupt.h>

static irqreturn_t oob_interrupt_handler(int irq, void *dev_id)
	return IRQ_HANDLED;

init __init driver_init_routine(void)
	int ret;

	ret = request_irq(DEVICE_IRQ, oob_interrupt_handler,
			  IRQF_OOB, "Out-of-band device IRQ",
	if (ret)
		goto fail;

	return 0;
	/* Unwind upon error. */